Option 1: Lightweight - For enthusiasts serious about weight reduction and skilled enough to do with less. These packs are designed to carry only minimal weight in comfort (often there is no frame and only a basic hip belt). so lighten your load to around 10-12 kg for comfort.
Option 2: Canvas - The traditional choice of Aussie and Kiwi bushwalkers who demand long-term weather resistance and toughness. Designs tend to be no-nonsense affairs with minimal pockets and extraneous features. Be prepared to spend $400 plus
Option 3: Synthetic - The most widely available rucksack type, these use lightweight synthetic fabrics and are often bursting with features. Quality varies from budget (sub $100) to top-of-the-line ($400 plus). Waterproof welded seams are the latest development to help reduce weight while increasing waterproofness.
Top 5 Buyers' Tips:
- 1. SIZE - Rucksack frames are available in up to four sizes. Buy the wrong size and the rucksack willnever be comfortable, no matter how expensive.
- 2. FRAME - Some frame systems are simple, others are marvels of technology. More important is how effectively the frame transfers weight to the hip belt.
- 3. PADDING - Soft padding may feel dreamy in the store, but in the real world firm padding will provide superior weight to the hip belt.
- 4. QUALITY - You get what you pay for. An inexpensive rucksack might suffice for occasional trips, but don't expect it to carry as well or last as long as a quality brand.
- 5. FEATURES - It's better to buy a high-quality, simple design than a lesser rucksack with loads of features.
A backpack can be comfortable carried for hours over the roughest terrain. To avoid a spine-crunching relationship with your chiropractor you'll need a comfortable harness and the lightest load possible.
The more weight you intend to carry, the more substantial the harness system needs to be. For the Kokoda Track choose a more sophisticated harness with deluxe straps and a robust frame system.
Try on various backpacks and include the intended weight you plan on carrying. Ensure the salesperson provides the correct frame size and demonstrates how to adjust the straps so that two-thirds of the weight is distributed to your hips. If this service isn't offered you're in the wrong store.
Take a walk around the store and see how the pack carries. The load weight should be well balanced and transfer evenly to the hip belt. If you plan to carry heavy loads (15kg or more) look for a stiff frame system and firm padding as this combination will carry the weight best.
Lighten your load:
A heavy pack is a ball and chain, while a light pack is your ticket to freedom.
Start by only packing items that you will use regularly. Then build a system of clothing and accessories that will prove useful in a variety of situations. Choose clothing that can last longer between washes and that dries fast and you'll need to pack less of it. When you learn to do with less, day-to-day living becomes simpler. Less really is more.
If you are carrying yourself you may get away with a 50-65ltr pack, however if you are hiring a personal porter you require a larger pack 75ltr-80ltr to allow him to put in some gear of his own to keep it out of the weather. You will also require a day pack for yourself to carry to include your water, personal items, camera etc.
Larger packs are more popular, but the bigger the pack you have, the more you'll take and the heavier it will be. An expanding zipped gusset is a feature that's worth looking for. It provides additional capacity when heading home with souvenirs of your trip or gifts for friends. The rest of the time you won't even know it's there.
A removable daypack is undoubtedly the most useful travel luggage feature. You'll need a small backpack of some kind for sightseeing, so it may as well attach to your main luggage for convenient transport. Ensure the daypack is big enough for your needs, especially as you are bushwalking. For better security see if the daypack will strap across your chest at the front (clips to the main pack's shoulder straps).
Alternatively, ensure that it can't be easily removed when mounted on the main pack and out of sight.
The main pack should boast lockable security zips to prevent items being placed inside your baggage without you knowing.
A harness cover protects the harness during transit; make sure it zips closed easily when the pack is fully stuffed, or risk broken zippers.
Removable toiletry bags are a very handy feature if they're the right size and shape for your needs. Extra compartments and pockets are popular additions, but try to avoid choosing loads of features over quality.